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Free Study Guide-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen-Free Plot Summary
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Chapter 51

Summary

Mr. and Mrs. Wickham arrive at Longbourn. Mrs. Bennet welcomes them warmly, but Mr. Bennet is provoked by the couple’s easy manner and shameless impudence. Elizabeth is indignant over their behavior, and even the gentle Jane is mortified by their indifferent attitude. Lydia chatters unabashedly about Wickham and seems to be totally in love with him, in spite of the shabby treatment that he has given her. In contrast, Wickham does not seem to be much in love with Lydia. While talking to Elizabeth, Lydia says that Darcy was present at the wedding. Elizabeth is thoroughly intrigued at his presence there and writes to her aunt to find out why.


Notes

The welcome Lydia and her husband receive from her parents on returning home is very typical. Mr. Bennet, provoked by Lydia’s shamelessness, retreats to his ivory tower; Mrs. Bennet gushes over the newly-weds. During her stay, Lydia clearly reveals her immaturity. She is insensitive to the shame and agony her family was subjected to on account of her elopement. When Elizabeth attempts to shame her for her immoral behavior, it is a futile attempt; Lydia, like her mother, is overjoyed at the marriage and feels there is no reason to repent. Even though she is self assured, Lydia proves she is a thoroughly spoiled girl, who does what she likes, leaving it to others to straighten out the mess she creates.

Unlike Elizabeth and Jane, Lydia does not care about social dignity and status in marriage. She is even so naïve about her sisters that she recommends that they also go to Brighton to hunt for grooms.

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